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Novel Algorithmic Techniques through the Lens of Combinatorics
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 759557 Call for proposal: ERC-2017-STG
Funded under: H2020 | ERC | ERC-STG Overall Budget: 1,411,260 EURFunder Contribution: 1,411,260 EUR
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Real-world optimization problems pose major challenges to algorithmic research. For instance, (i) many important problems are believed to be intractable (i.e. NP-hard) and (ii) with the growth of data size, modern applications often require a decision making under {\em incomplete and dynamically changing input data}. After several decades of research, central problems in these domains have remained poorly understood (e.g. Is there an asymptotically most efficient binary search trees?) Existing algorithmic techniques either reach their limitation or are inherently tailored to special cases. This project attempts to untangle this gap in the state of the art and seeks new interplay across multiple areas of algorithms, such as approximation algorithms, online algorithms, fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) algorithms, exponential time algorithms, and data structures. We propose new directions from the {\em structural perspectives} that connect the aforementioned algorithmic problems to basic questions in combinatorics. Our approaches fall into one of the three broad schemes: (i) new structural theory, (ii) intermediate problems, and (iii) transfer of techniques. These directions partially build on the PI's successes in resolving more than ten classical problems in this context. Resolving the proposed problems will likely revolutionize our understanding about algorithms and data structures and potentially unify techniques in multiple algorithmic regimes. Any progress is, in fact, already a significant contribution to the algorithms community. We suggest concrete intermediate goals that are of independent interest and have lower risks, so they are suitable for Ph.D students.

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